‘After being made redundant it became very apparent that getting back into my chosen career was very difficult, therefore I took a part time job that would help support my family’ described Helen Powell, mother of 2 young children, on her experience of redundancy and battling to break back into her chosen field.

Helen had worked for various photographic companies and suppliers, including 6 years as a photographer with Cheshire Constabulary based within the Forensic Investigation Department, which she really enjoyed. Unfortunately, after being made redundant, the Wirral woman was forced to take a part time job as a toll officer in order to help support her 2 young children, both of whom are under 5.
Being a very experienced photographer, Helen began to notice a gap in the newborn photography market. She recognised that the style used in the USA and other parts of Britain was lacking in the North West. She told us: ‘Before I was made redundant I began exploring this area and started to build a portfolio of work and self-funded myself on a Newborn Safety & Posing Workshop.’

So after her husband, who had also been made redundant, had opened up his own successful graphic design business with family, Helen began moving forward with her own idea.
The biggest barrier for the mother of 2 was her confidence and self-belief in her abilities. The prospect of becoming her own boss was very daunting, especially the idea of being completely responsible for every aspect of the business. However, with the help of The Women’s Organisation, who was suggested to her by a friend, Helen talks about how it helped her to ‘get her act together’ and ‘focus on exactly what it takes to build and create a business.’

She explained: ‘The Women’s Org have been amazing! From the one to one business advisor meetings…to the courses run…all the help and advice has been invaluable. I have attended the business start-up course and book keeping…the social media course [and the] HMRC & Tax course. All were really well presented and delivered in a very user friendly way, no jargon, no complicated ideas, just clear and easy to understand.’

Although she struggled with her confidence earlier on, Helen is now in a position where she is proud to say that: ‘I am what makes my business unique. There are other baby and newborn photographers out there, but not many with the creative expertise and background as I have… [And] the highest level of security checks. In the North West, particularly Merseyside, there are not many who specialise in Maternity & Newborn… Therefore being a master of this trade rather than a jack of all trades.’

Helen’s business, Topetones, specialises in Maternity & Newborn photography, but she also does a lot of family photography. Now in a new studio, located close to beautiful parks and the beach, Topetones is starting outdoor lifestyle shoots and ‘Family in a Box’ shoots. 

Despite having to find the time to run a household, look after 2 young children and work 20 hours a week, the Wirral woman is looking forward to growing her business steadily. She hopes to eventually go full time with her business, to focus entirely on what she is truly passionate about.

With an article featured in ‘Mummy & Me’ magazine and a newly acquired Jacqueline Gold twitter WOW award, Helen is excited about the future of Topetones as she makes her dream, reality.

If you are interested in booking a newborn or maternity shoot, or would just like to find out more, visit www.topetones.com or contact Helen directly at mail@topetones.com.  You can also follow Topetones on Twitter: @topetones and Facebook www.facebook.com/topetonesphotography 

And if like Helen you would like to improve your situation or turn something you love doing into a business, feel free to contact The Women’s Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 or info@thewo.org.uk

By Beckie Kinsella